Technicians work in the aft compartment of Shuttle Endeavour's payload bay, where a new Enhanced Main Events Controller (E-MEC) will be installed. The original E-MEC in Endeavour became suspect during the Jan. 31 launch countdown and mission STS-99 was delayed when NASA managers decided to replace it. Each Shuttle carries two enhanced master events controllers (E-MECs), which provide relays for onboard flight computers to send signals to arm and fire pyrotechnics that separate the solid rockets and external tank during assent. Both E-MECs are needed for the Shuttle to be cleared for flight. Currently Endeavour and Columbia are the only two orbiters with the E-MECs. Built by Rockwell's Satellite Space Electronics Division, Anaheim, Calif., each unit weighs 65 pounds and is approximately 20 inches long, 13 inches wide and 8 inches tall. Previously, three Shuttle flights have been scrubbed or delayed due to faulty MECs: STS-73, STS-49 and STS-41-D. Before workers can begin E-MEC replacement efforts at the launch pad, cryogenic reactants had to be offloaded from the orbiter and Space Shuttle ordnance disconnected. The next scheduled date for launch of STS-99 is Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m. EST. (Photo Release Date: 02/03/2000 )
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